Daughter of Smoke & Bone - Laini Taylor
First half: 5 stars
Second half: 2 to 2.5 stars . . .

What happened? I think what summarizes the first half best is, in the book's own words, "Once upon a time, a little girl was raised by monsters. But angels burned the doorways to their world, and she was all alone." Sounds fascinating, right? It is. Ohh, it is.

Karou is an art student with one foot in Prague and one foot in a monster's workshop. She balances art classes with errands for Brimstone, the chimaera who raised her--mainly, gathering teeth of all kinds from around the world. This lifestyle continues until seared handprints start to appear on the portals to Brimstone's world, laid by angels, the chimaeras' enemies.

Creative, tense, and with great prose. Then the second half introduces the angel Akiva, who falls in love with Karou. Not exactly a spoiler, since it's something anyone could have predicted. But this happens at a part when Karou has her mind set on something. The plot revolves around her determination, and then . . . it standstills?

Instead of getting things done, Akiva and Karou get breakfast, watch the sun rise, etc. etc. etc. When things should be building up to a climax, it backtracks and spends the entire second half in backstory, explaining, creating no tension, and dropping all the tension the amazing first half created. The story finally goes back into real-time three chapters from the end, only to return to backstory (and have its climax there, which makes me feel robbed of something somehow?).

It could be that I'm just not such a fan of this type of storytelling, but I wanted things to happen, not have things explained for me.